By Bro. Francis Clark Adriano
BCBP Greenhills Chapter
I come from an above-average family, with a supportive father and a loving mother. Yet at 13, I was already tasting alcohol. At 15, I was already smoking marijuana. I stole from my parents just to avail of the drug. Though I managed to get through high school, my peers did not. They ended up either in rehab, in jail, or the cemetery. All these, however, did not stop me from my pleasure-seeking ways.
Despite my addiction, I managed to get through college and get employed in a bank. I was already becoming successful, with promotions and accomplishments beginning to be common. I attributed all of these good fortunes to my capabilities and not once to God. On the contrary, I often blamed God for my failures.
In 1981, I married my college girlfriend Tanya. Five years later, I left for Australia. But it did not take long before my father asked me to return to the Philippines. Apparently, my father was already sick and he wanted to see me before he passed away. After my father’s death in 1988, I took the Board Examination for Customs Broker. I landed second place. The following year, I was already working at the Bureau of Customs.
In my early days at the Bureau, I was straightforward and honest. I did what was right. But temptations, peer pressure, and the need to be accepted were simply too strong. Soon enough, I got into the flow and imbibed the culture — the Customs way of life. I became part of the system: A breed of ABC—alligator, buwaya and crocodile.
Money became my new god, I started having “table transactions” — above the table, under-the-table, and including the table. I earned P50,000 plus a day and yet it was not enough. Beautiful women followed and became easy to obtain.
It was then that I had relationship with someone who gave me a son. Too much money eventually led me to the bottom of the pit where I learned to use shabu. I trusted no one—not even my own mother and siblings. The little goodness left in me vanished. I turned out to be like the devil—hostile, violent, dishonest, greedy, lustful, and selfish.
Shabu destroyed everything good in me. It poisoned my mind and hardened my heart. At my lowest point, I even tried to kill myself. My life was meaningless.
My mother found out. She prayed that God would give me a new heart and that I would surrender my life to Christ. She brought me to Makati Medical Center for treatment. But a week after being dispensed, I was back to my old ways.
Something supernatural happened after that. I started seeing a flashing light with the words “My Way” in the appearance of a dove. My mother gave me a book titled, “The Way,” written by St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei. When I opened the pages, it seemed the book was alive and was speaking to me.
That night, I had a dream. It was so vivid. I saw a bearded man with glowing light around him entering my room and touching me. He said, “My child, come and follow me. You will feel joy and peace you’ve never felt before.”
One morning, on the way to my office, scared of what was happening to me, I passed by the adoration chapel of St. Joseph The Worker Church in Makati and entered it for the first time. The dove-shaped light I saw in my dream was there. I felt something striking me, a warm sensation filling me from head to toe. It gave me goosebumps. Tears welled from my eyes. And a peaceful bliss enveloped me. A force so powerful made me raise my hands and say, “Lord, forgive me. I surrender. I give up. Take control.”
As I began to seek God, I accepted the invitation of my sister to attend the Life in the Spirit Seminar by the BCBP. Listening to a talk about repentance and faith, I realized that to change my mind, heart, and attitude was not difficult for me since my objective in attending was to turn around. This was enough for me to turn the knob and open the door for Christ to come into my life. My bondage to drugs was so strong — but God’s spirit was stronger.
No doctors, treatments or therapy groups helped me overcome my addiction. My journey was not a matter of discipline. It was a matter of surrender. I surrendered to one of His many wake-up calls. In a flash, God healed me of my addiction.
I opened the door and what an overwhelming feeling at that time—a feeling of bliss. In an instant, Christ transformed despair and pain to hope and joy and a realization that my love for my family surpassed my desire to continue an illicit affair. With that realization, I labored hard with the